Michelle Banfield Director of Development Services
2018–2022 Strategic Plan
Affordable Housing Strategy
The percentage of affordable housing units built to goal is one of three key performance indicators relating to the Growing Our Economy priority, one of five priorities outlined in City Council's
2018–2022 Strategic Plan.
Affordable housing is an important indicator of a healthy community and a key priority of Council. This measure is not just about providing shelter, it is about improving quality of life throughout the City; addressing better resident health; supporting household financial stability; personal and community safety; and, population diversity. The effects of affordable housing are capable of transforming communities, especially when tied to comprehensive planning policy.
Affordable Housing Monitoring report – January 2018 to December 2020 was presented to Council on March 23, 2021. This report consolidates the actions taken by the City to accomplish the goal of 840 units established in the
Affordable Housing Strategy – 10-Year Plan (completed in 2015). The Overall Progress and Key Conclusion section of this report clearly states that this target has already been reached.
According to this report, 103.8% (872 units) of affordable unit target was achieved as of December 31, 2020. This includes 409 unfunded second suites at various discount rates set by the County of Simcoe based on what is affordable. If the increased discount rate for unfunded second suites was applied across the time of monitoring Affordable Housing the unit count would be 619 or 74%.
City-initiated amendments to the
Official Plan and
Zoning By-law were approved by Council in 2020 to remove the restriction to second suites in the Georgian College Neighbourhood area. Updates to the
Community Improvement Plan were approved by Council in 2020.
The CIP offers financial incentives for eligible projects that target key planning and growth management objectives for development within Barrie. This includes affordable housing projects, brownfield site redevelopment, and mixed-use developments within the Urban Growth Centre, key intensification areas and the preservation of heritage buildings. The Affordable Housing Development Grant Program, this program provides incentives to promote the development of affordable housing units, based on a definition of “affordable” that allows the City to address the full range of housing. These projects also target housing solutions for the low and low-moderate income households in the community and/or encourage the construction of long-term rental units.
The City has been an early leader in progressively reducing the tax ratio for multi-residential units by approximately 25% annually. This is a significant tax-based support that encourages residential rentals in Barrie and is now being looked at as a good policy to implement throughout Ontario.
2019 performance: 25.55%
The “Affordable Housing Strategy – 10 year Plan” establishes that the mission of the Strategy is the construction of 600 are specified as affordable (based on market) and the other 240 are subsidized (i.e. through programs offered/managed by the County of Simcoe as Housing Provider). For these calculations we will use 600 Units as a Target
For the previous KPIs provided for 2019 the number of Affordable Housing Units added was established based on the assumption that 70% of the Second Suite Units will be considered Affordable Housing.
Then, if the total Number of Second Suite Units for 2019 was 219 units; the total of 153 units will be consider as affordable housing.
The percentage of affordable housing units built for 2019 based on the target established is = (153/600)= 25.5 %
We will be working in the implementation of an Affordable Housing Tracking Tool to allow us to identify this type of residential units easier.
In addition to the Second Suite Units approach that we used for these calculations, we will implement a process to identify any new development applications that include this type of unit in its proposal, and find out how many of them get into the market when the development is completed.
We will also track any units created through the new CIP program grants related to affordable housing.
Some of the CIP reserve funding was just approved under the first phase for 2020 and there are requirements that applicants enter into an agreement with the City and must demonstrate / commit to keeping the units as affordable in accordance with the definition.
Future adjustments may be required to numbers after we complete the revision of the approach we are using to identify the number of units for affordable housing.
City-initiated amendments to the Zoning By-law were approved by Council in 2019 considered the permission of a third accessory dwelling unit in a detached structure. Therefore allowing a total of 3 dwelling units per single, semi and townhouse unit fronting onto public streets.
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